Yendys back in front
After leaving the rolling mist behind and moving to a new course area in the Whitsunday Passage, the IRC classes contesting Audi Hamilton Island Race Week managed one windward/leeward race this afternoon in a light southerly breeze before being granted an early mark by the race committee.
Peter Harburg’s Queensland RP 66 Black Jack scored a second overall win today to be third on the Class A series pointscore at the business end of the regatta.
"Well, we’d rather be first at this stage, but we’re still within striking distance so we’re not unhappy," said Harburg this afternoon. "We've done our best and we’ve had two wins, which is a good thing for a big boat. We’ve tried to optimise for the handicap and these changes and the crew work are paying off."
Now the Australian Sailing Team has mostly left Hamilton Island, Harburg’s superstar tactician, gold medallist Tom Slingsby, can settle back into his role on the boat.
On today’s race Slingsby said: "We just did the simple things right, good starts and good first leg speed. Downwind the boat really performs well in light winds so we were able to shoot away. Tomorrow it’s game on."
Rob Hanna’s eighth placing with his TP52 Shogun today was out of character and has allowed Geoff Ross’ TP52 Yendys to shimmy back into the top spot, both equal on 12 points.
There was a surprise in the Audi IRC Australian Championship Class B, Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire finishing third to the race winner, Tony Ross’ Beneteau First 40, Black Label. Victoire still has some breathing space, leading overall by three points.
Results were also shaken up in the C Class, Roland Dane’s Jessandra finishing fourth while David Ellis’ Archambault A31 Audi Penfold Sport, grabbed the opportunity for a second overall win. They have their work cut out given Dane’s blistering regatta start that has them six points clear after five races.
In the South Pacific Cup, Nicholas Bartels, skipper of the Cookson 50 Terra Firma from the three-boat Australian team said this afternoon: "As of now the odds are in the Aussie’s favour for the Cup. The scores at the end of today are 44 points to Australia and 83 to New Zealand."
All team members are grand prix division yachts – the TP 52 category racers Hooligan and Yendys, plus the 50ft Terra Firma. Hooligan is the defending Race Week champion.
New Zealand is the defending nation and this year they are represented by two TP52s – Georgia and Kia Kaha. The third team yacht is the very competitive Ker 40 Ice Breaker.
Queensland leads the Hamilton Island State Challenge pointscore from New South Wales and Victoria.
Tomorrow’s schedule has the IRC classes racing an island course starting from the eastern course area at 11am.